Miscellaneous

Happiness and social media

Since I was about 14 years old, I haven’t shut up on the internet. I’ve had MySpace (far too young), Tumblr, Twitter, blogs, Instagram, and I even caved and made a Tik Tok last year because I became addicted (Ok fine. I am still addicted).

I would share so much about my life which, looking back, I’m glad about because it’s like a small glimpse into a time capsule.

I don’t think there is such a thing as oversharing when it comes to the internet and social media, because it all depends on whether you wanted to share it in the first place. If sharing what you ate for dinner feels like oversharing, then you wouldn’t do it. If you want to share what you had for dinner, then you shouldn’t feel guilty for doing it.

What I do find interesting about social media is the why. Why do I want to share this? And is it helping my happiness?

 

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In 2020, with the pandemic meaning I spent pretty much the entire year in my home, I posted a lot on social media. Probably the most I ever had in any year, ever. Which, comparing it to my Tumblr days of 2009 – 2011, must have been a lot. I would post every single TV show I was watching, the zoom quizzes, deliveries from friends or my mum, housework chores, my daily exercise. I even started to post videos of me cooking and baking, which is funny because I cannot do either very well.

I don’t look back and think it was oversharing, because I needed it. It was my connection to the world when all I really wanted was to feel like I was communicating with people.

Even though I don’t think oversharing exists, at the end of 2020 I realised I was living too much through the stories I was sharing online. It was only 3% of what was really happening in my life. I had a very fortunate year in that nothing out of the ordinary bad happened to me, apart from the pandemic in general, but I still had things going on that I didn’t share online. When I started to analyse this, I wasn’t happy with the amount of things I shared because it wasn’t adding anything to my life.

Many studies show that people who post a lot on social media are feeling lonely. That is definitely how I felt in 2020. Pre-pandemic, I was use to seeing people every day, meeting up with friends and family at the weekend, and going out to places even if I have always been a homebody. Going from constant social engagement to nothing meant I channeled my desire to communicate with people into social media posts.

The following year, I tried to reign in it because the ‘why’ I was posting didn’t seem significant anymore. I stopped posting on my Eco Instagram page and blogging, which I miss (hence this blog). I started to do monthly round ups on Instagram, instead of posting every day. I even started to tweet less. Yet I ended 2021 feeling like it was still too much, because the monthly round ups felt like a chore.

2022 I am quieter and more selective. I examined the amount of time it took me to think of something interesting to share and understand why I was sharing it. I have discovered, a few years too late, that some things should remain offline. I guess I mean privacy, but it’s more than that. It’s like relationships for example: romantic and platonic. I don’t need everyone to know the details of those, just like I don’t need everyone to know the minor details of my life like where I’m going or what I’ve been up to.

Instead of posting personal things, I enjoy sharing what pop culture I’m into. Tracking apps like Serializd, Letterboxd, Storygraph, and more are great for this as I can keep track of what I’m doing, but it’s not so much my personal life.

And do you know what I have realised? I’m happier.

It could be down to numerous other factors: hormones, exercise, relationships, personal life stuff, being vaccinated and feeling more comfortable to live life like pre-pandemic times again. It could be many things. I do however think my changing relationship with social media has helped it.

I now have boundaries with who I share things with, where I share them, and, most importantly, what I share.

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